The world was shocked when it was revealed that ‘all-American family man’ Chris Watts had murdered his pregnant wife and their two daughters in 2018.
However, as revealed in the new Chris Watts: A Faking It Special on Discovery+, body language experts have explained how the killer’s actions and behavior on camera made his guilt clear to see from the very beginning.
On August 13, 2018, Watts was suddenly placed in the middle of a media frenzy after his wife Shanann and their kids Celeste, three, and Bella, four, all went missing.
Watts was seen pleading for his family to be returned to him safe and sound, however, his guilt was hiding in plain sight as his actions betrayed his caring words.
Speaking in the true-crime documentary, Dr Cliff Lansley revealed the signs which helped lead to the discovery that he’s killed his wife, daughters and unborn child in cold blood and was now trying to cover his tracks.
Captured on police bodycam footage, a seemingly worried Watts runs to his front door to greet police, as they begin to search the Watts property for signs of his missing family.
Chris Watts murdered his pregnant wife Shanann and their two daughters (Picture: Shutterstock)
As seen in the footage, Watts was giving away clues to his guilt by nervously swaying from side to side.
‘We’ve got the swaying, we have the double-handed hand shrug, and we have a volume drop,’ Lansley explains. ‘The swaying shows anxiety, so there’s anxiety going on.
‘He’s making an affirmative claim that she was still here when I was here at 5:15am, but his hands are doing a partial gesture – it’s leakage, you can just see it on the bottom of the screen – so that small movement of the hands, the rotation, is what we call a double-handed shrug, which is part of the full gesture “I have no confidence in what I’ve just said.”‘
Then days later, when Watts made a seemingly impassioned plea for his family’s safe return on television, that the true extent of his deception was revealed.
Professor of Linguistics Dawn Archer stated that while the words Watts used convey sadness, the tone of his voice didn’t back up them up.
‘It’s about him. And there’s a lot of if ‘I’ statements in there,’ she says. ‘He then focuses on his apparent despair, but there’s no matching affect in the voice; we don’t hear that despair. More red flags.’
Analysing Watts’s facial expressions and body language, Dr. Lansley highlights a cluster of four behaviors that give Watts away as a liar, as he pleaded for his family’s safety, fully in the knowledge that they were dead.
The murderer was handed five life sentences for his crimes in 2018 (Picture: Weld Country Sherrif’s, CO)
This included a look of pleasure, possibly in getting away with his crime and fooling those watching his feigned pleas at home.
‘If you look at Watts’ face in more detail with a close-up, on the left-hand side you’ll see baseline. This is Watts’ normal face during the non-emotional parts of the interview,’ Lansley starts. ‘But on the right, when he says, “I just want them back,” and he’s talking about his children here, you see the lip corners raised; you see the eyes tighten. His cheeks are raised.
‘This combination of these two muscles is an indicator of genuine pleasure,’ Lansley notes.
As the interview comes to an end, Watts looks down the camera to make a direct appeal to Shanann, Bella, and Celeste to come home.
As he does this, Watt’s body continues to leak clues pointing towards his guilt as Lansley explains: ‘In addition, while he’s saying that, he slings out a left hand – a hand shrug – which rotates anticlockwise.
‘Now, a single hand shrug is not enough for a behavioral analyst to rely on, but when he closes his eyes for a full second, and you see a slight head shake no when he’s making the claim he wants them back, we’ve got a cluster of four behaviors which say there’s nothing in this statement that you have confidence in, because it’s not true.’
Chris Watts, 36, pleaded guilty to the murders of his wife and two children in 2018 and was handed five life sentences – three consecutive and two concurrent – without the possibility of parole.
He also received an additional 48 years for the unlawful termination of Shanann’s pregnancy and a further 36 years for three charges of tampering with a deceased body.
Chris Watts: A Faking It Special is available to stream on Discovery+.
Credit: Original article published here.